’65 Dodge packs the best of 2010 Ram, from Cummins to CarPlay


Full-size pickups have been a popular choice as a do-everything vehicle, with crew cabs serving as work trucks during the week and Jet Ski–hauling family vehicles on the weekend. It hasn’t always been that way, though.

Decades ago, truck cabs weren’t the most comfortable places to be, and it was rare to find a four-door with enough room in the cab to fit four passengers without provoking arguments. This fantastic restomod, which is heading to Mecum’s Kissimmee sale in January 2023, has melded the power and comfort of a late-model pickup with the classic lines of a Dodge Sweptline.

In its previous life, this 1965 D200 crew cab saw duty with the Air Force, when it was likely powered by a 318-cubic-inch V-8. Now it’s a civilian that has been transformed with the help of a Dodge Ram 2500 donor, which lent its burly chassis, brakes, and suspension along with a powerful 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.

To make room for the powerful mill’s large radiator and charge cooler, the fenders of the D200 were extended and the lower grille from a 500-series truck was added, giving the 3/4-ton truck an extra brawny look.

The original gasoline engine, which made 200 hp, at best, is now far outclassed by the 350-hp Cummins, which also produces 650 lb-ft of torque. Its 68RFE automatic transmission was rebuilt by Jasper Engines and Transmissions. The new engine looks right at home in its new surroundings.

There are even more surprises inside the cab, as the 2010 Ram donor lent more than its powertrain to its 1965 cousin. In fact, the bulk of the interior for this ’60s workhorse was also sourced from the more modern Ram, including the hardware and computers to run the dual-zone climate control and heated steering wheel.

The Dodge Ram HD made big changes in 2010, as it adopted the cab design that debuted in the Dodge Ram 1500 the year prior. That also meant a new, more luxurious interior, making it a great choice for a donor to this project. The cab looks inviting: Four bucket seats and dual center-consoles mean that there’s no bad seat in the house, and the warm brown interior is a nice contrast to the cool, industrial gray exterior. The truck even has Apple CarPlay thanks to an Alpine head unit that’s also part of a 5000-watt audio system.

Despite its modern underpinnings and interior, the truck looks like a classic. Plenty of original details were maintained on the exterior, including the big polished door handles and original bumpers, which were re-chromed. The wheels even look the ’60s part, although those are much newer. A set of Black Rhino aluminum rims were selected but were refinished in white and given hubcaps with a Dodge Fratzog. They fit the retro look perfectly.

Overall, the build looks top-notch. The results blend classic looks with a lot of modern conveniences, a combination that has done well in the past with buyers of cars and trucks alike. We’re not going to venture a guess as to how much this truck will bring at its Kissimmee sale, but its seamless transformation from spartan workhorse to custom hauler could get a lot of bidders interested.

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    Pretty cool truck! I once had a ’62 D-100 (very similar in looks, but of course only a regular cab) that I put a 400ci Small-Block Chevy and Turbo 400 trans into). It was nowhere as nice as this build, but it sure was a powerful pick-up truck for its day (late ’70s/early ’80s). It was used mostly for camping, hauling firewood, and general ranch work. I would be proud to take this ’65 D-200 to the store or a car show, but it’s WAY too pretty to use it for work!

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